The first of two instalments this week, as we kick off our TV look back with The Last Enemy
BBC1 had been trailering The Last Enemy quite heavily mainly because I think they’d spent a lot of money on it. The basic plot of the show involved a mathematician who’d been away from England for years coming back to attend the funeral of his brother. The England he comes back to is a lot different with I.D. cards and surveillance rife, he decides to help out the Government with some research. He also encounters his dead brother’s wife and sleeps with her about half an hour later. He is also being tracked by surveillance experts who are keen to keep taps on him as well as the wife (who is of Eastern European extraction) and another woman who links everyone. Add to this Robert Carlyle who has no lines in the first episode but sneaks around looking for something or someone. Max Beasley was also credited in the cast but only appeared in a photo in episode one. In defence of The Last Enemy the cast played their parts well Benedict Cumberbatch as made a craft of playing slightly innocent men in a corrupt world while Robert Carlyle is significantly creepy, while David Harewood and Gillian Somerville support as the surveillance team its the Eastern European girl who walks off with all the acting plaudits as the innocent wife plunged into this world. It seems the makers of The Last Enemy have been watching too many 24 DVD Box Sets cramming computer hacking, politics, asylum seekers and a mystery disease into the one episode they kind of take on too much. I think as an establishing episode this was okay but some mysteries have to be solved by episode two or I think I’ll give up on this.
We move now to another BBC3 pilot in Being Human which was billed on i-player as a supernatural drama. It was kind of Buffy meets Game On as a werewolf and a vampire work as a porter and a doctor by day and also move in together. However the flat they move into is haunted by the ghost of a Northern girl however her ghosting is reminiscent of Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter books. At times this did lapse into the macabre, for example the changing into the werewolf in front of the ex-girlfriend was quite traumatic as was the possibility of a vampire outbreak lead by head vampire Adrian Lester. When the three central characters were together there was a bit of light-hearted banter but the jokes were few and far between, as I felt this was overly-dark for a pilot episode. However thanks to the ideas that their identities won’t be hidden forever and Lester’s chilling performance as a vampire I think this may be back. But I don’t know how many of these pilots BBC3 are going to commission for series, they claimed one but have already made plans for that one show to be Phoo Action. Meanwhile the third in this season – Dis/Connected has been cancelled because of the Bridge End tragedies.
Last year BBC4 aired a sitcom called Freezing, I was very unsure about this show as it was very knowing and of the industry. The basic set-up is that Hugh Bonneville plays a book editor and Elizabeth McGovern plays a version of herself an actress called Liz who has trouble getting work. The first episode I found was a little patchy and hard to follow for us normal plebs not working in the industry. Somehow BBC2 decided it was a good idea to bring it back for an extended run and aired the pilot plus two new episodes from Wednesday to Friday. My feelings about the series changed in episode 2 and thats thanks largely to one man – Tom Hollander. As Liz’s agent he moves in with the couple and basically acts as their surrogate child (the couple can’t have babies and want to adopt). He strops around the place being utterly sleazy and horrible and therefore has created one of the best comic creations in recent years. While there are a lot better sitcoms than this Hollander’s agent is a better character and could do with breaking out of this show which basically sees Bonneville looking worried and McGovern pouting. The real humour comes from the support which as well as Hollander included Ben Miles, Joely Richardson, Alex Kingston, Tim McInnerny, Edward Fox and Anthony Head. I think if people are smart and brave enough, Hollander should get his own sitcom and let his worthless agent be the star instead of the support.
From the classy to the classless now and it seems that MTV:UK will give anyone a show – Jodie Marsh, Lisa Scott-Lee and her extended hangers-on, the losers in Totally Boyband and now Kerry Katona. However this show didn’t play out like one big ego-trip like the Jodie Marsh debacle. Katona and husband Dave do seem to genuinely love each other of course its not sweetness and light they often bark at each other and bicker but in a loving, normal way. And that’s what I liked about this show it was normal, whereas in Totally… Jodie Marsh, Lisa Scott-Lee and Boyband they were all trying to achieve something, here Katona is just trying to go about her everyday life being pregnant and being famous. I know it was emotional blackmail but I did feel slightly sorry for her when some guy came forward as her real dad and she already knew who her dad was. The fact that her own mother as sold stories about her also makes you feel for the girl who was thrust into the spotlight when she was 20 and is pregnant with her fourth child. Although probably not worthy of its own T.V. show this was the story of a couple who in all intense and purposes would be just like any other if she didn’t have all this money from Iceland Ads and presumably royalties from the first Atomic Kitten album. Dave is a normal, grounded sort not being a celebrity or part of that world at all I think he has been a grounding influence on his wife but you can tell he was an ex-cabbie as he always seems to be driving with her in the back seat. What made me really angry was the fact that there were three paparazzi stationed outside her house constantly, I know to be fair that she wants to keep herself in the public eye but it’s still a bit off. Kerry Katona: Crazy in Love was really what you’d expect without the big ego trip and she is crazy and it also seems like she’s in love.
Finally a little bit of heartwarming telly. Anyone who has been following BBC2′s The Choir: Boy’s Dont Sing on Friday nights should have had a little tear in their eye as Gareth Malone got his hundred-plus choir from the Lancaster School for Boys to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. Malone has struggled over the weeks to get boys to perform singing and after 9 months has effortlessly got the choir together and even included a beatbox section dubbed – Urban Beatz. This week also saw the emotional faces of the parents especially that of the mother whose son has cancer it was her dream to see him participate in something. And also the boys performing Stand by Me along with the staff and Urban Beatz – adding Sean Kingston’s Beautiful Girl. In fact I believe that’s the first time anyone’s performed Sean Kingston at the Royal Albert Hall. I hope Malone returns for a third season of The Choir and if he doesn’t I want to put him forward to be the next Doctor Who.
Next Time: A special look at The Brit Awards